During a long talk with Rick at the beginning of November, during which I was feeling quite overwhelmed with projects and homeschooling and life in general, I decided to go ahead and normalize our kitchen again. We plugged the fridge back in.
We unplugged the fridge in May of 2011. It was supposed to be a month-long experiment. We left it unplugged for a year and a half. So, I guess in that way, it was a total success. We had a great system down, and we pretty much forgot what life with a refrigerator was like.
I liked it, being weird and different and extreme. But also, Rick and I were getting to the point where we craved a little normalcy and simplicity in our lives in general. The fridge was a sort of symbol for me of this crazy, hippie extreme life that I wanted to have. And, Rick, being super supportive, has come along for the ride, and for the most part, we have that life.
We grow our food or buy from local farms, we have chickens and bees. I never buy cereal or use paper plates or paper towels. I’ve made our own laundry soap and dishwasher detergent. We’ve cloth diapered (3 kids), etc. You get the point.
But sometimes being weird can wear on you. It was wearing on us both (not the fridge, but you know… everything).
One of my good friends talks about how tough it can be to live in two worlds. You know the two… one in which all your friends only buy gluten-free, sustainably harvested, BPA-free, GMO-free, soy-free, local, handmade, hand loomed, home-grown, vegetarian fed, and free range. And the other world: the on sale, easy clean-up, big box, double coupon, plastic, convenient, drive-thru, battery operated, disposable one.
I mean, take a kid’s birthday party. Imagine hosting 25 people but using nothing disposable. No paper plates or plastic forks or crêpe paper streamers. Or if you do use plastic cups you feel guilty, even for the biodegradable ones. The guilt.
So I decided to let go. Not of everything. Sometimes I use a paper towel or 100% recycled paper plate. The fridge was something simple that could go back to normal, not be so weird.
You wouldn’t believe how novel it felt. Having a freezer inside the house, having room for anything in the fridge. We hosted Thanksgiving dinner this year. I let the turkey thaw in the fridge, and there was room for other things. It was amazing! (By the way, we also hosted T-day without a fridge, it’s totally doable).
This doesn’t mean I’m going all conventional, back to disposable everything. But it does mean I’m giving myself more grace. I don’t need to be perfect or extreme. I just need to keep trying.